They call it the “Seventh Inning Stretch” at baseball games because it’s literally a physical stretch you do in the middle of the seventh inning (one of the origin legends has it beginning right here in Cincinnati). You get up and stretch out arms and legs that have been sitting on a hard seat (or bleachers for Little Leaguers). Get up and get some peanuts or Cracker Jack (like the song says) and get the circulation flowing for the last few innings of the game. And it’s not such a bad idea outside the baseball diamond, either. There are some surprising parts of your life that might benefit from a “Seventh Inning Stretch.”

Long-Term Projects

Anything worth doing, is worth taking the time to do right. But when you’ve been working on a task or a project for days, weeks, or months–especially if it doesn’t have shorter mini-tasks that offer decent breaking points–it can feel like a long, upward slog to a mountaintop that doesn’t really exist. Taking a seventh inning stretch means you break from your usual pace (sometimes you walk away entirely for a short period of time) because the break will give you some much-needed new perspective, and the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Taking that short break to reinvigorate your circulation can be just the thing to keep you going across the finish line.

The Daily Grind

No doubt about it, when there’s no end in sight, you can get to feeling like there’s no point in even trying (I feel that way about laundry and dirty dishes). Taking a seventh-inning stretch break from the routine (not necessarily the laundry or the dishes themselves, but the usual way you do them) can be just the thing to get you out of the slog and back into working efficiently. Break your usual laundry routine by going through your drawers and discarding/giving away old clothes, or reorganizing your closet. Yes, I know this sounds like a bit of work in itself, but it’s different work, and it can give you that much-needed new perspective by reminding you of your clothing inventory…and maybe inspiring you to chuck some of the old and perhaps…bring in new?

As for the dishes…switch to paper plates for a week, or make all your meals in a crock pot or on the grill. Try a week where instead of cooking, you enjoy a week’s worth of raw, cold, or fresh meals–not only will you change up your kitchen routine, you might just discover a new diet as well!

The Dreaded Diet/Exercise Plateau

Nothing can break a spirit on a health and fitness quest like the weight-loss plateau. And we all have hit it one time or another–those last five pounds, or that point two-thirds of the way through the program where you stop the losing and just…bottom out. Your Seventh Inning Stretch here might be more literal than in other examples–you may literally need to stretch more and increase your cardio. Or you may literally need a snack or diet change in order to keep getting your nutrients. Change up your routine by mixing up your cardio and strength training, or switching from a protein-intensive to a carb-intensive diet (within reason–don’t go crazy, especially if you’re following professional advice–listen to your doc). You might actually need to take a week off entirely, to give your body time to restore or remake muscle tissue and process nutrients.

Seventh inning stretches have endured because they are just what baseball fans need, just when they need it. Outside of baseball, a change-up at this stage of the game will usually kick-start your journey and give you renewed dedication to your goals. Try it and see!

 

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